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Online Poems by Lawson Inada


Flying By The Seat

"We are flying by the seat
of our pants..." --Ken Weathersby

Which, when you think about it,
ain't all that bad.
I mean, hey, it could be
"Seating by the fly of our pants"!

Right! Besides, the Planet Herself
sings something similar:
"Flying By The Heat Of The Dance"!

And you pretty much gotta trust Her,
even if that means twiddling your thumbs
while she makes Her way through Her medley--

part lounge-act, part hootenanny--

featuring them "old chestnuts" like

"I'm An Old Cowhand (From The Rio Grande)"
"Row, Row, Row Your Boat (Row, Row, Row)"
"Old MacDonald Had A Farm (E-I-E-I-O)"

along with a latin-beat arrangement
of "Turkey In The Straw"
and even a rappish "Over The Rainbow"

before windin' down to ballad renditions
of "Comin' Round The Mountain" segueing
cleverly to "I Left My Heart In San Francisco"
where of course we get "Sunrise, Sunset"...

Then, if the mood is right, She kicks in
an encore, scattin' up tempo to the changes
of (what did you expect?) Fly Me To The Moon"!

A grand time was had, is had, by all:
"Flying by the seat of our pants"!

Eatin' With Sticks

When you think about it,
eatin' with 'sticks
is the natural thing to do;

that is, without getting all
sociological about it,
it makes logical sense

to handle your food
with these smooth extensions
of your fleshy fingers--

that way, the hot
is truly cool,
bit by bit making its way

south to your mouth
as you choose
what you chews,

chowing down on, say,
succulent shoots of bamboo
with sticks of bamboo

as you come full circle
in the ecological
sense of things

which makes good sense
and shouldn't
bamboozle any bambino

with a lick of sense,
a lick of taste,
and elders demonstrating

the social, logical value
of a world not to waste,
slash, stab at random,

not to just scoop around
like so many grains
of surplus and plenty.

Moreover, 'sticks
are never alone--
as in "sticks together"--

as they are paired together
like the very stereo
parts of the body--

arms, hands, legs, feet,
ears, eyes, molars,
nostrils of the nose,

with all of those
working together ricely,
in sync, as we eat...

But wait--What's missing?
Right--a whole person
does not a society make...

Thus, as any unshaven sage
in a mountain hermitage
will instruct you:

"Man, you need a bowl, baby!"
Which is to say:
"You can't go it alone!"

And even a hermit
wouldn't be here
if it weren't for

'sticks and bowls,
the whole enchilada
of Yin and Yang,

of boys and girls,
of what makes the world
worth sitting down with

wherever you are,
blessing the bowl
of food, community,

collective memory,
creative hermitage,
the grains, the noodles

that wouldn't have it
any other way:
"Eat us with sticks!"

Somebody's Been Messing With My Money!

Somebody's been messing with my money!
You heard me!
Somebody's been messing with my money!

Somebody's been taking my hard-earned salary
and sticking it all over their sticky bodies!

Somebody's been defacing my currency!
Somebody's been mutilating my labor!
Somebody's been abusing my country!

I'm sure it's you! Who else could it be?

Somebody's been crumpling the stuff up!
Somebody's been throwing the stuff down!

Somebody's been licking on it,
spitting on it, chewing on it,
spilling on it, stepping on it,
crying on it, bleeding on it!

I'm sure it's you! You unknown commodity!

Come payday, I'm heading down to the mint!
I want all my money clean and fresh and new!
I refuse to be part of your filthy economy!

Somebody's been messing with my money!

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